NYPL RESEARCH LIBRARIES 3 3433 08182899 2 a- • I Digitized by the Internet Archive in 2008 with funding from IVIicrosoft Corporation http://www.archive.org/details/addressesdeliverOOshea ADDRESSES DELIVERED BY liev.J.P.StafeJ[ei][|[iev.[loratioAlp[ AT THE Semi-Centennial Celebration OF THE iA»i®; OF THE NOVEMBER 20, 1878. NATICK, MASS. Rtdek & Morse, Pkinters. Citizen Office, 1879. ^"**-'> t -, ^^^: lliwi ^jiiircn tt [* IV-JWl ADDRESSES DELIVERED BY V. J. P. ieals Jr. Mi Sev. Horatio Alpr, AT THE Semi-Centennial Celebration OF THE B1«AW1©K OF THE B^to^t Wmlta^lmm CfcMPe NOVEMBER 20, 1878. TSTATICK, MASS. Ryder & Morse, Printers. Citizen Office. 1870. BINDINQ NUMBER OF 1899 •i4 324 Historical Address BY J. P. SHEAFE, JR. At a preliminary meeting of the committee of arrangements the part assigned rae in the exercises of this day, was to tell the storv of those eaiiy meeting houses which were built on the identical spot, or within a few feet of where we now stand; and also to recount those scenes and events of interest which cluster so thickly about the early religious life of this place. Surely this is an ample field, and the material abundant for the few moments which it is my privilege to occupy. But where shall I begin? Full well I know where I must stop. Tliis church was dedicated fifty years ago, to-day. I cannot pass that bound without, trenching on another's field. ''Backward," then, ''turn backward, O time, in your flight," and we thread our way through the dim mists of the past, backward two hundred and fifty years, and we stand here in the great primeval temple, the first great house of worship, tlie house not made with hands, enduring as the rocky foundations of the earth. Behold the first grand house of God, yon lofty hills, more beautiful than Corinthian columns, as pillars support the arching dome of heaven. Here, in the urand Cathedral of Nature, the sons of the forest were wont to bow themselves in awe and to worship the Great Spirit Freely they came and went through this beautiful vale two hundred and fifty years ago, and at that very time the man of genius and of power who was soon to reveal to them the God whom they ignorantly worshipped, the man who would soon organize among the Indians a church of the living God, had already completed his college course at Cambridge, England and was preparing mind and heart for the great work which would soon engross all his energies-; and powers. That man was John Eliot, born in Nazing, England, in the year 1604. Bear in mind that England had not jet made a single permanent settlement in this western world. James- town, Quebec, Manhattan Island, and Plymouth Rock were only names without a local habitation; but he who was to be the Apostolic man among the Indians of this place, had al- ready begun to imbibe the spirit and the love of God in a home where dwelt, according to his own words, "-the fear of God, his word and prayer." He received a liberal education, and took his -degree from College in 1623. Eliot began his public life as a teacher; but tradition informs us thai he had a way and a will of his own, and so persistently did he main- tain them that he was forijidden to teach in his native l.iud. If one field was denied him, he would take another, and we find him in 1631, embarked in the ship Lion, bound for the New World. It wiis new; the Pilgrims hikl landed but 11 years before. This beautiful valley was then alnu^st an utter stranger to the face or form of tlie wliite man. The good ship Lion speeds upon her way, but how little did the master or the crew realize- to what an extent the desti- nies of New England depended upon the safety of that passage. Had that ship foundered in the deep, how changed had been the duties of the chronicler of this, the "'Place of Mills."' That watchful eye which suffers not a sparrow t<> fall un- noticed kept constant vigil over wiiul and wave. <)n Nov. 2d, 1631, John Eliot of blessed Mem<ny, anivud in I^oslon. Furnished with eminent qualifications and filled with Christian zeal no time was to be lost, where the harvest might l)e abun- dant, waiting only for the hns!)andman. On the very sanu^ month that Eliot landed in Boston lu* was elected teacher in the First Church, Roxbury, and on Nov. 5th of the next year he was ordained pastor of tlu; Society.* The woik of Eliot was now fairly begun, only 15 miles fiom this spot. A man with such boundless sympathies for his fellowmen, could not long remain indifferent to the wretched condition (;f thu In- dians. Then as now they had hardly a right which the white man was bound to respect. They were between two *Historioal Skolch l)y Rev. D. Wi,c;ht. page 2(1 destroying elements; the stronger and more warlike tribes of the remote parts were more than a match for them in the field, and they were therefore obliged to draw in toward the English settlements for protection. But the English civiliza- tion proved a more insidious, though not less fatal foe. Eliot was moved with compassion for them and determined to give a part at least of his time and labor for their improvement. But their launuage ! how could he ever find courage to con- tend with so ureal a difficulty? "Our readers will stand aghast"says Cotton Mather "at a few instances." The Indian word which corivsponds to "our lusts" is awordof 32 letters — Nura-mat-che-kod-tau-ta-moon-gan-un-non-ash. This little word is quite outdone by a woid of 43 letters which sig- nifies "our question."* I shall have to beg to be excused from pronouncing this word, as my knowledge of Indian is not very extensive. Such difficulties as these were powerless to quench the ai'dor of the apostle. Says Edward Everett in his address at Bloody Brook: "Since the death of Paul a martyr, truer, warmer s])irit than John Eliot never lived. And taking the state of the counti-y, the narrowness of the means and the rudeness of the age into cousideration,the his- tory of the Christian Church does not contain an example of resolute, untiring successful labor, superior to that of transla- ting the entire Scri]>tures in the language of the native tribes of Massachusetts.!" Eliot, determined to learn the Indian lan- guage finds a young Indian who has lived in an English family and has learned the English tongue. This Indian, he tells us, seamed of much capacity, and Eliot took him to his own house, and tlvre wirh marvelous patience taught him to read write and speak the Massachusett.s language. When Mather stumbles on these words, he says "One would think that these words hud been growing ever since Babel unto the di- mensions to which they are now extended." But persist- ence and enej'^v will make almost anything yield; and in]the space of two years, Eliot was able to converse with the Indians in theii- own tongue. Just at this time in the year *Biglow's History of Xalick. paa;e 48. tBacoji's History i 1 \atifk. ))age 12. 6 1646, the Legislature of Mass,, passed "An Act for Propaga- ting the Gospel among the Indians." This made an auspicious opening for Eliot. He had some of the language at his com- mand, and no time was to be lost. He sent word to the Indians who were then living at Nonantum, that if they de- sired he would come and instruct them in the word of God. Among this tribe of Indians was one Waban, a principal man and kind of chief justice among them. The Indians, men, women and children gathered into Waban's spacious wig- wam, and there Oct. 2S, 1640, P^liot preached his first sermon to the Indians,* not simply his first sermon,but the first sermon which was ever preached by a white man in the Indian's native tongue. What was the text of the first sermon to the sous of the forest? Ez. 37 — 9. "-Then said he unto me Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy son of man, and say unto the wind, thus said the Lord God, Come from the four winds O breath, aud breathe upon these slain, that they may live." What wisdom in the choice of the passage! There he was in the wigwam of Waban, and Waban signifies wind. Prophesy unto Waban, prophesy, son of man, and say unto Waban, Thus saith the Lord God. And the words were not without effect. I would we might have looked in upon that congregation, the service was three hours long and when Eliot asked them at the close if they were not weary, they answered Nol But Eliot re- marks, "We resolved to leave them with an appetite." In Eliot's account of this meeting, he shows that the Indian language was not quite as familiar as his mother tongue, for he says: "We began with prayer, which was now in English, we being not so far acquainted with the Indian language as to expressour hearts therein l)efore God and them." We hope to be able to do this ere long.f" It was a blessed sight he says to see these outcasts dil- igently attending to the blessed word. From this time the work went on rapidly. The Indians were assembled for service every two weeks, and at the end of the sermon they were asked if they understood what had been said, they answer- *Bigelow's History of Natick. page -oO. tSketcli of Life of John Eliot, bv Alexamler Young. ed — "All of it." They were also allowed to ask questions, some of wliioh were as follows: Whether Jesus Christ could understand prayers in the Indian language? How all the world became full of people? If they were all once drowned?* And many other questions of like character which certainly evinced a good degree of common sense; and this is the con- stant affirmation of Eliot that the Indians are of good ability and apt to learn. In 1650, Eliot sought a spot where he might build an In- dian town, and establish a church. This was the favored spot. It was a part of Dedham, and in behalf of the Indians Eliot petitioned the General Couit that it might be granted for that purpose. It was yielded by the town of Dedham in exchange for Deerfield, formerl}- owned by the Indians. Eliot was a man of dispatch. As §oon as the land was granted, he moved his Indian families to the spot, and that same year, 1650, they cast themselves into toim for the ordering of civil affairs, and bound themselves together i)y a covenant, a few Hues of which I will quote. "We give ourselves and our children to God* to be his people. He shall rule in all our affairs, not only in our religion and the affairs of church, but also in all our works and affairs in this world. Let the grace of Christ help us. Send thy spirit into our hearts, and let it teach us. Lord take us to be Thy people, and let us take Thee to be our God."t This is the only covenant I remember to hdve seen among the record of this early people. It is Ijeautiful in its simplic- ity and abundantly comprehensive in its scope. This cove- nant adopted by the first worshipers upon this spot would be most heartily endorsed by the worshipeis who now assemble from week to week in this place. Nearly all the land of Na- tick'was owned by John Speene, his brethren and kindred, at the suggestion of Eliot they all consented to relinquish their rights and on one of the lecture days publicly and solemnly in the presence of the Lord and all the people, John Speene, •*Bigio\v's History of of Natich. pages '12 it 'l'-\. I Historical SivCtch delivered in 1828, Xov. 2(Hh at dedication of the Unitarian Thurch. his kindred, friends and posterity gave up all their right and interest in the land in and about Natick, so that the pray- ing Indians might make a town, reserving only their Wyers.* These were fences of stakes and stones built across the river for the purpose of catching fish. A little more than a year ago when the water was very low in the river, one of these wyers might have been distinctly seen about ten rods this side of Dover Bridge. The stones were so near the surface of the water that with a pair of boots one could easily walk across the river upon the wall of stones. The land having been granted and ceded to the Indians, the town was laid out, on road on the South side of the riv- er, two on the North side; and on these roads the land was di- vided into lots and distributed among the propi ietors of the town. Along these roads the little Indian liouses and wig- wams were built. About this spot when- we now stand was built a large handsome fort of a civcnlar form, palisaded with trees. In front and spanning the river was a I -ridge in the form of an arch. 8 feet high in the centre and the foundations secured with stones. f This bridge Eliot tauuht them to build — another illustration of the versatility of lii.s genius. Now, my friends, within this circular fort we will build in our minds eye, a plain little wooden house, of ihe English style, 25x50ft. and two stories in height, ileic we have in mind the picture, the roads, little Indian honsts, the river, bridge, fort and sacr^^l little house witliin. This is Xatick, 227 years ago. I said a sacred little liouse. That was th.' first Indian Church in America. This little Meeting House, the fir&t up- on this spot, was erected in 1631. It happened in this wise, gathered as they doubtless often were in the shadows of that venerable Oak which bears the Apostles name, the follow- ing is Eliot's account of the building of the lirst Meeting House "We must of necessity have a house (o lodge and meet in and wherein to lay our provisions and clothes which *Biglow's History of Natick, page 28. , tBigiovv's History of Natick. page 25; also Bacon's* History, page 09 Tlie bridge was 80ft long and 8ft liigli. cannot be in wigwams" "I set the Indians therefore to fell and square timber; and when it was ready I went and many of them vdth me, and on their shoulders carried all the tim- ber together"* One white carpenter assisted the Indians in raising the l)uilding and the structure was soon complete. We step inside and with Gookin's description we see, not rich carpets, and soft cushions, not even pewi^ for the Indians were strongly opposed to them, and when in the later Meet- ing Houses pews were introduced, the Indians seldom came. The lower story is simply a large plain room, "which serves as Meeting House on the Lord's day and School House on the week-days. There is a large canopy of mats raised upon poles for Mr. P^liot and his company, and other sorts of canopies for themselves and other hearers to sit under. The men and women were placed apart.'' Just what purpose these cano- j)ies served can we only conjecture. f But let us glance up stairs. "The upper room is a kind of wardrobe, where the In- dians hang up their skins and other things of value. In one corner of this room Mr. Eliot has an apartment partitioned off, with a bed and bedstead in it." Here in this little house, just nbont one half as large as the present church, Meeting House, School House, wardrobe, safe, private apartment and ytudy, all in one, Eliot toiled and labored with his Indian ■friends for more than a quarter of a century. How gladly \v*tul(l we follow him, did time permit, through those years of toil and hardship, of privation and discouragements, and of glorious success It was a season of hardship, for many of the sachems and medicine men of the surrounding tribes were suspicious of him. or jealous of his influence- When he was threatened or thrust out, his answer was "I amaboutthe work of the great (rod, and he is with me so that I fear not all the ^;achems in the country. Fll go on. and do you touch me if you dare." Oct. to, 16") 2, was the great questioning day, the divines *Bii;lo\v's History (if Natick page 18 and 19. also quoted by Rev Alex. Vniiiig. in sivetch (if tlip Lifft of John Eliot. •tAs tli(^ uppor p-irt of tins liuildiii.a; was used as a Store-house, for skins ifec. the canopies may have been needed to protect the heads of the I'oiigrearatioM below, "from whatever might find its way through the cracks in the lioor. 10 from all the neighborhood, their friends and interpreters met at Natick to judge of the fitness of the Indians to be admitted to Church Communion. About 15 made open and distinct confession of their faith, and a number were then baptised, but for some reason they were still kept on probation until 1660, when the first Indian Church was organized. Of this church no records can be found, not even to tell the number of which it was composed. We learn tnat in 1670 the com- municants numbered from 40 to 50. These years were years of incessant toil for the Apostle to the Indians. Aside from the work which must necessarily devolve upon him, we find continual records of his i)etitions and appeals to the General Court in behalf of the Indians, and for the maintenance of their rights. It is during these years that Eliot makes his Grammar of the Indian Language. It Ib on this very spot, and in that first meeting house, that he ponders over the scheme of the Indian Bible. Doubtless, much of the work was done in this place. We find him writing letter after letter to friends in England, and to the "High and mighty Prince Charles the Secoiul,"' btigging for money to have his Bible printed; and, at length, he suc- ceeded. This was the first Bible printed on the American continent. The New Testament was printed at Cambridge, in 1661, and the Old Testament, in 1668. Glad am I that the town of Natick has been able to procure a copy of Eliot's translation of the Bible. It is a monument of the labor which has been performed here, and the town treasures it in her safest archives.* 1675 approaches — a sad time for the little community at Natick. It brings King Philip's war. The Government is suspicious of the Indians, fearing that, when the war-whoop sounds through the land, the praying Indians will take up arms against the whites; and had not Eliot and General Gookin come to their defense, the Government would even then have destroyed them. As it was, the Natick Indians, with several other establishments, were compelled to gather *During the Anniversary Exercises this copy of Eliot's Indian Bible might hare been seen upon the puipit, and wi'ih Vw Biblo was. a copy of the Psalms translated into Indian, owned by iVlr. Elijaii Perry. 11 up what they could and be sent off to "Deare Island" in Bos- ton harbor, where they passed a most wretched winter, amid much privation and suffering. After the death of King Phil- ip, these poor Indians were allowed to straggle back to their homes as best they could, but their strength and numbers were sadly diminished by sickness and death. The scholars and inhabitants of Natick read in history of King Philip's War, and how hostilities were begun because a friendly Indian was found murdered, probably by Philip's men, but do they know and realize how closely those events are connected with the history of this town? Do they know that the friendly Indian was perfectly at home on these lovely liill-sides and by this rolling stream? That In- dian was none other than John Sassamon — educated by the English — the same who assisted Eliot in translating the Bi- ble. He was converted to Christianity, and was once a school-master in this veiy town of Natick. It was he who so kindly and timely made the Government of Plymouth acquainted with the plan by which Philip intended to cut off every English settlement in New England. In the Roxbury Church Records, Eliot speaks of him thus: "The Winter past, John Sassamon was murdered by wick- ed Indians. He was a man of eminent parts and wit. He was of late years converted, joined to the Church at Natick, baptized and sent by the Church to Asowamsik, in Plym- outh Patent, to teach the gospel." * We must speedily pass the remainder of the Apostle's years. He rested from his labors May 20, 1690, at the age of 86. Hi§ last words were, "Welcome joyi" These words are a fitting close and commentary on such a life, so welcome and of such joy for those to whom he bore the glad tidings and the gospel truth. He was buried in the ministers' tomb at Roxbury, where a monument records his name. And, a few feet from this church, stands a humble shaft to com- memorate his hibor:* in this place. The Apostle provides a successor ere the time of his departure is at hand; and or- dains an Indian minister, Daniel Takawambait, as shepherd *Citatioii by liov. Uraiiiel VViglif,, Roxbury Church Records pag« 263. 12 of the flock. At what time he was ordained is not known, but it must have been some time before 1H87. He died Sept. 17, 1716; and leaves an impression whicli says he was a good man and wise. The humble slab which records his name, age, and the date of his departure, may still be seen on tht^ sidewalk, close to the fence, and nearly opposite this church. But the Natick community sadly depreciated after the death of Eliot. In 1698, the record says: ''The Church consists of seven men and three woincii. There are here fifty-seven men, fifty-one women, and seventy children under sixteen years of age. No school-master; and but one child can read." * Daniel Takawambait was followed l)y Shouks, an Indian, who remained about the" place, and preached ()ccasi(-)nal!y, until the time of Mr. Peabody, in 1721. May 11, 1710, wo find a record that the proprietors are called t()<^ethev, and John Neesmunin is voted in as a proprietor, — "-if," says the record, "he live and die in the Gospel ministry at Natick." He did not so continue, bat very soon left the place. Let us now pause, for a moment, upon a matter of consid- erable importance. You would hardly suppose that so large a thing as a meeting house could be lost in so small a ])hice as South Natick. Such seems, however, to be thn fact; and here is the evidence. I copy, word tor word, ilic rcciJid made by Mr. Austin Bacon from the State files of 169it "1699. Number, thirty families. The petitioners aiv tlu- remainder of the Church of Christ, ])lantc(l fifty years since by Eliot, but b}' deaths and removals we are greatly dimin- ished and impoverished. Our Meeting House is fallen down and we are unable to build another, and wish to sell to .John Coller, Jr., Carpenter, a small nook of our Plantation, of about 200 acres, to pay him for erecting a Meeting House/" f There are two important facts here. One — wiiich :so many have sought in vain to know — what became of the old Eliot first church, and at what date it disappeared? In 1699, *Biglow's History of Natick, page 41. tThis quotation is very much abridged ; for llu' full docuiiueiit, uiiicli I have copied veibatim fioui the State Files, and which is much more explicit, see appendix. 13 the Indians say of their church — and it can be no other than the original Eliot Church of 1651— ''Our Church is fallen down." There is the old church in ruins, and the Indians are petitioning for the right to sell a small nook of their Plantation to pay for a new one. This petition is signed by eighteen Indians; and Thomas Sawin testifies to the truth of the petition, and that it is good for the Indians. Now, was this new meeting house built in about 1700? Consult the State files, volume 30, page 602, and you will read: ''John Coller, Jr., in 1702, petitions the General Court to grant him the Nook of Indian land upon which he is then living as pay for building the Meeting House, saying that •he had been obliged to expose his own estate for sale, in or- der to meet the expense ot building the House." * That his claim was a just one is evident, for he retained tiie land with undisputed right, and the deeds are still ex- tant showing that he conveyed it light and title to others, and that light has never yet been questioned, f This, then, is the second meeting house.. In 1721, Mr. Oliver Peabody comes as a missionary to this place. It has been but twenty- one years since the CoUer meeting house was built, but the l)eople appear lo thinlc it necessary wh«n they have anew minister to have a new house for him. Therefore, we read that in 1720 a meeting of the people was called to consider the plan of building a new meeting house. There seems to have been no opposition, and a committee was chosen, and empowered to have the new house built near the spot on which the old one stood. And the records say that, Sept. 13,1721, a meeting of the proprietors was lawfully warned, at which time they granted unto Moses Smith, of Needham, forty acres of land on the southwesterly side of Pegan Hill; said land to pay for finishing the meeting house, ij: This, the •*See petition of John Coller,Jr. in appendix, from tlie State Files Vol. 30 page 502. ITliis petition was grauted in the Council and agreed to in the Honse of Repiesentativea. See appendix from State Files Vol. 30 page 504. jBiglow's History of Natick page 28. At this meeting Major Fullatn and Lieut. Tliomas Sawin were chosen a Committee, "to see that tlie work he well done."' 14 Peabody House, is the third meeting house.* As the people went from Sunday to Sunday in and out of this third meeting house, they used to step across the old ditch which surrounded the circular fort in the days of Eliot. We are told that the circular ridge of the old fort could l)e distinctly seen when the ground was broken for the building of this church.f By some strange mixture of dates, we are told, by the various histories of Natick, that the Badger meeting house — which was the fourth — was raised in 17.";3 or 4. But the record made at the time, by the Deacon of the church, Mr. John Jones, Esq., Justice of the Peace, reads thus: "On June 8, 1749, the meeting house was- raised." And if you consult the records of that year, you will find the deacon's record was correct.:}: This house was finished in 1767, and remained standing until 1812. But in this brief period of forty-five years, the meeting house had outlived its usefulness. It was abandoned by the worshipers, probably very soon after Mr. Badger finished his public ministry, which was in the year 1799. Very few cherished any sacred associations with the ■building; many regarded this meeting house with feelings quite the reverse. So it was neglected, and even mutilated, by the villagers. It was used, at last, for a store-house and barn. The farmers housed their produce here, and it proved a convenient place for hay and corn-stalks. This building became, at length, an eye-sore to the communit}-. Those who with zeal had helped to build, would now gladly be rid of it. Though a feeling of sadness must have attended the falling to pieces of this old chnrch, yet it was not withouu its humorous side. Many amusing anecdotes are related at the expense of the old meeting house. To one of these I will refer. It appears that when the first meeting house in *For proof that this was a distinct Meeting House, and not tiie old one refitted, see appendix. tBiglow's History of Natick page 25. iDeacon John Jones was amanot very marlced ability in the early history of this town. He was great great ..grand-son of Lewis Jones, who came from England about 1640. The 6th, 7th and Sth generations of the descendants of the original settlei are at the present time constant attendants at this Chnrch. 15 the north part of the town was completed, in 1799, it was not very beautiful or picturesque. Without exaggeration it might havi) been called quite i)lain; so thought the good man, Mr. Loring, who preached there between 1806 and 7. He was wont to speak rather lightly of the appearance of the house, until one day the deacon, Samuel Fiske, took him down to see the old Badger meeting house. As they approached, he beheld with consternation the hay and corn- stalks protruding from the windows, and the clapboards torn off as high up as they could be reached. In amazement the good man halts, and we can seem to see him raise his pious hands as he exclaimed, "Oh, Lord, I have heard of thy house; but now mine eyes have seen thy barnf'' * But even as a barn it was not long to remain. May 27, 1812, it was pulled down by the young men, in an election-day frolic, and <listributed upon the various wood-piles in the neighbor- hood.! Thus falls the Badger meeting house, the fourth which had been built upon or within a few feet of this very spot. I have now traversed a space of almost two hundred and fifty years. I have seized but a fragment here and there along the way. Such as I have gleaned I cordially submit to you, without note or comment. And I do so with the firm conviction "That all the good the past hath had, Remains to make our own time glad." And as we worship upon the same spot where our fore- fathers worshiped, so let us ever maintain their zeal of spirit, their singleness of purpose and their purity of heart. Then shall we have reason to rejoice in the hope that the good work which they began we may carry forward and perpet- uate. "Thuss the old order changeth to the new, and God fulfills himself in many ways." *Historic Notes by Mr. Austin Bacon. tBiglow's History of Natick, page i9. Appendix Notes. It seems a very singular fact that the various writers upon the history of Natick should all have overlooked the second Indian meeting house, which was built upon the spot where the Eliot Church now stands ; so singular, indeed, that many persons are incredulous, and, failing to see the authority, fail to believe in its existence. I was put upon the track of this forgotten meeting house by a kind sugges- tion from Mr. Austin Bacon, and I take this opportunity to express my indebtedness to him. I have made a careful study of the matter, and have obtained abundant proof and explicit testimony for the existence of an Indian meeting house, erected about the year 1700, upon the spot, or very near where the Unitarian Church now stands. That I may substantiate the statements of the foregoing address, viz,: that the present Unitarian Church is the fifth meeting house which has been built upon this site, I append three peti- tions which I have carefully copied, word for word, from the original manuscripts preserved in the State files at the State House. These documents are peculiarly interesting, and I have endeavored to preserve the cuj-ious expressions, abbre- viations and spelling of the original. State Files, Vol. 30, page 503: — "To his Excellency, Richard, Earl of Bellmont, Captain General & Governor in Chief of his Ma'ty's Province of the Massachusetts Bay, &c., and to the Hon'ble Council and Representatives of the said Province convened in General assembly. May 81st, 1699. The humble address and petition of his Ma'ty's Subjects, the Indian natives of Natick, containing about SO families. In most humble wise showeth. That your Petitioners are the remainder of the Church of Christ there planted about 50 years since by the Reverent servant of Christ Jesus, Mr. John Eliot, deceased, and by the death of many, & removall of others, who during the time of the late wars have been 17 sojourning; among the English for their support, and are not yet returned to their plantations, wee are now greatly di- minished and impoverished. Our meeting house where wee were wont constantly to meet Sabath days & lecture days, to worship God is fallen downe and wee are not able to build us another. Our humble request to your Excellency and the hon'ble Court therefore is, that wee may be licensed to sell unto John Coller junr. Carpenter, a small nook of our plantation, containing about 200 acres, the Plat where of wee have here unto annexed, it lying remote from us wee shall not be damnified by our parting there with, and with the price there of, wee shall by him have built for us, a place for our comfortable meeting together. Wee pray therefore your favour for your consent here unto and wee shall remain as in duty wee are bound humbly to pray &c." The person who presents this petition is evidently familiar with the affairs of the Natick Indians, and at the end of the petition he writes these words: "I can and do testifie to the truth of what is above writ- ten, &, do apprehend it a good to ye Indians, & for this end I do put mj^ name." To this testimony, a later hand has afhxed the name ''Thomas Sawin.'" This petition, with its confirmation, shows clearly that in 1699, the old Eliot meeting liouse had fallen down, and that the Indians were very desirous that another should be built. It is evident from the petition that the Indians had con- sulted "John Coller junr., Carpenter." and knew that for the nook of land '"•they could have built for them a comfortable place for meeting together."" The question now is, Did John Coller, junr., build the meeting house? In answer to this question, I submit the' petition of John Coller, which I have copied from his own hand-writing: State Files, Vol. 30, page 502:— "To his Excell'cy Jo- seph Dudley, Esqr., Govern'r, &c. These are Humbly to inform yr Much Hon'rd Great & General Court now as- sembled in Boston, That I the subscriber have built & erected a Meeting house for the Pul)lick worship of God amongst ye Indians of 18 Natick according to agreement with ye Town of s'd Na- tiek and also the advioe & direction of the late . Hon'ble Lt. Governor and ye Hon'ble Mr. Danforth. And I now living upon a corner of Land in s'd Natick which ye s'd Town did agree to Grant to me for s'd building, Provid they did obtain Liberty, as by refer- ence to their Petition & Plat of s'd Land, now in Court may more fully appear. And I being Exposed to make Sale of my former settlement to answer the charges & carrying on of s'd Building, and now being settled upon s'd Tract of Land and having no other means to live upon but ye same, Do therefore Humbly desire this Great & Hon'ed Court to consider the s'd Petition of the Indians in order to a fur- ther confirmation thereof. ****** Your Hon'es Humble Servant JOHN COLLER." "1702. June M. Read." There can be no better proof than an oiiginal manuscript like the above. You will observe that it i-eads "I have built and erected a Meeting house, etc." As proof of the state- ment the sul)scriber had been obliged to sell his own settle- ment to meet the expense of the building. The Coller meet- ing house, evidently, was built about the year 1700; certain- ly, before June 3d, 1702. When John Coller presents his petition, June 3d, the attention of the House is called to consider the petition which the Indians had presented. That petition is taken up at once; and upon the back of the In- dians' petition we read the following: "In the House of Representatives, June 5, 1702. Ordered that the prayer of the witliin petition be granted, & the Indians within mentioned be allowed to sell & confirm the land mentioned, to John Coller in satisfaction for his Build- ing them a meeting house according to the Piatt thereof Ex- hibited to this Court, entering upon Mr. \Vm. Brown's line on the nothern side of s'd land." Even after this decision, the petition had several readings. At the fifth reading, however, this final decision is made, and we read: 19 In council June 6, 1705. Read and concurred. Provided the Quantity of Land ex- ceed not 200 acres, and that the Plat & Deed thereof to be made and laid before the Governor & Council for their al- lowance. ISAAC HADDINGTON, Secretary. Agreed to in the House of Representatives, THOMAS OAKES, Speaker. The third Meeting House was the Peabody House, of 1721; but 21 years is so short a period to represent the life-time of a Meeting House, it has been suggested, that this Meeting House was only the Coller House repaired and refitted. To prove that such was not the case, and that the House of 1721 was an entirely distinct building, I have transcribed the following document, which is a translation of the Indian let- ter to the Governor, The House is built by one Jebis by name, who is a regular cheat, a perfect type of those traders who came among the Indians solely for what they could make out of them. Jebis builds the Meeting House so poor- ly, and charges so much for his exceedingly defective work that the Indians write to the Governor, desiring him to com- pel Jebis to make restitution. For this manuscript see State Files Vol, 31, p. 97 et. seq. The Governor Generall of Boston &c. The Indians pray him to give attention to what they rep- i-esent to him, relating to the building their church. 1. At the begin'g of the work, the workmen would not undertake the work, but by the day, seeing they should do the less work & be well ^ay'd. In effect although three of those workmen had never handled an ax, being tailers by trade or Shoomakers or Weavers, they had each of 'em a beavor skin a day, & Jebis & the negroe had each of 'em one Si almost a half. Thus were they pay'd every Saturday, & for their labour having rec'd 21-3 Beavors, thej^ advanct the building no higher than the rising of the windows, wliich are six feet hi<>"h. 20 2. After this they were bid to leave off or to work by the great, there was bat 10 feet more in height to be done, for the building should be 16 ft. high, 65 long & 24 broad. All the carpentry for the roof & bellfry being made and prepard, Jebis undertakes it & asks 600 lbs of beavor, promising that in four mouths time he would finish the building as far as concerned the Carpenter work. That for the boards they must make another bargain. The desire they had to see the building finisht caus'd 'em to agree with his demands, viz : 600 lbs. beavor. 8. What Jebis promist to do in four months is not finisht in four years. He came hither for nothing almost, but to bring where-with-all to trade with the Indians, aijd returned after some days to carry away the beavor of his trade, and what was given him in advance for his work as he demanded it. This double profit which he made carry "d him away to prolong the work. 4. This last spring he came to make a bargain for the boards for the covering for the roof and ceiling (or floor.) There must be 8,000 feet. He asks for the boards shingles and nails 104 £. 5 s. in money. They agree to his demand on condition that the building shall be finisht the fall. To which he answer'd that if he did not finish it, he would never handle an ax. The bargain concluded^^he departs to go see his Father at Menaskoukus saying he would return in eight days. He demands on this last that they advance 200 lbs. of beavor. They let him have 134 lbs. Towards the end of the Summer not being yet returned thej sent to him twice to tell him that if he did not come and finish the building against the end of the fall he should come no more here. But he did not regard what was say'dCto him, Having carry'd away 134 lbs. beavor. Thus Jebis has behaved himself although they always treated him well. The mischief nevertheless would be more tolerable if he had wrought well, and that he had made a handsome and good building. But whoever will view it, will find these defects. 1. He has plac't it just as the ground was, instead of dig- ging to the firme earth as he ought to have done. 21 2. In squaring the pieces he has kept no measure, nor made use of any rule, that he might have done the sooner, therefore there is not the same thickness in the pieces, but all of different thickness which has occasioned the building to be larger above by 10 inches than it is below. 3. Of the fine doors that there are, there is not one yt is well. This appears at first sight to the eye, there is not one that is on a levell, & all larger above by four fingers than below. It's just so with the windows. 4. The boards could not be worse saw'd than they are. They are on one side a great deal thinner than on t'other & all saw'd twisting. •'). The joists to uphold the ceiling, all ill cut, & bending under 'em like rushes. 6. The bellfry is not all solid, the two workmen that cov- er'd it, not without fear advis'd not to put a bell there, a- feariug 'twould fall down as soon as 'twas rung. Neverthe- less we have two to put there. 7. The covering of Shingles is ill made, it's easy to see the holes that a-re in it. 8. I leave the other smaller defects, in a word, one may onely see the building to judge that it is ill done, altho' he has been pay'd much more for it than it is worth, one could not believe it, but we put down the particulars. I. Two hundred & thirteen beavors, to the height of the windows. II. 600 lbs. l>eavor for the rest. This has all been pay'd & regulated. Here is what he should have furnish't on the last bargain respecting the boards, the shingles, & nails. He should have supplied with <s,000 feet of boards, 16 thousand of small nails, 5 thousand a little bigger for the boards, this is what he said & what was agreed on. Here is what he has fur- nish't. For the covering & roof 3,420 pieces of boards, for the vault 2,250 feet without placing them. He made the Shingles for the covering. He knows what that is worth. The small nails were enough for the covering. As for the others there was scarce enough to nail the boards of the cov- 22 ering, & he say'd in the agreement that he had brought 5,000, & that we might depend on it. We believed him, & likewise for the price 38 shillings per. thousand, altho' we very well knew that they cost but 14 shillings. This is all he has done & furnish't relating to the last agreement. This is evident to the ej^e, for which he has rec'd at divers times as he demanded it, 24 lb. 1-4 beavor with one Otter. 53 lb. beavor. 41 " '' 43 martins. 28 " '• 134 " '' He can deny noth- ing of all this & he agrees to it in effect. He has made the last agreement by reckoning by shillings. We also make the pay'm't by shillings, the pound of beavor 3s, 6d., the same each martin. Let us suppose now what he has done & supply'd with what he has rec'd 'twill be found that he is indebted 300, or near 300 s., that on the contrary', if we are indebted to him, he would have no reason to ask pay"mt fur his bad work, to prolong the time of work, & in fine for abandoning it. He that quits the game loses it. There is no place in the world where justice is kept, where tliey were not commanded to mend what has been considerably ill done, that if they refus'd it, others should do it at their chargis or he should be condemn'd to return what he shall ])e adjudged to. This is what the Indians represent to the Gov'r General of Boston. All that the Indians represent to the Govern'r they say'd to Jebis here in full council, to which he could give no answer. But otherwise he will make use of lying to defend himself." "Letter from the Indians to the Govern'r. Translated 1720." Historical Address. By Rey. H. Alger. Psalms: xxvi, 8. "Lord, I have loved the habitation of thv house, and the place where thine honor dwelleth," The spot on which we are assembled is consecrated ground. Here successively at least four houses for public worship have been erected, the first having been built more than two and a quarter centuries ago. For nearly forty years it was the scene of the pious labors of one of the most devoted and self-sacrificing missionaries the world ever saw. Though endowed with popular talents which would have placed him in the first rank among the divines and men of education and culture of the colony, yet the degraded condition of the aborigines cfxcited his compassion, and early determined him to devote a large part of his time to their instruction. The translation ot the whole of the scriptures of the Old and New Testaments into the Indian language, which he had acquired for the purposes of his mission, would alone have l^een sufficient to constitute the work of a life-time. This enterprise had in his view an importance which it has long since ceased to have in the view of those of later times, and which stimulated him to persevere, amid discouragements, with slender means and with little assistance in the execu- tion of a work "performed not in the flush of youth, nor within the luxurious abodes of academic ease, but under the constant burden of his duties as a minister and preacher, and at a time of life when the spirits begin to flag." Though he had been the minister of the first church in Roxbury almost sixty years, he will ever be known and remembered as the apostle to the Indians. His indefatigable labors, begun and prosecuted with no reference to worldly distinction, will cause his name and character to be remembered and revered when those of most of his contemporaries shall have been forgotten. The earlier meeting houses on this spot were all mission- ary churches, the ministers being in part supported by the society in England for the propagation of th« gospel in New England, and the congregations consisting of Indians and such white people as had settled in the place. During the latter part of Mr. Peabody's ministry and the whole of Mr. Badger's, the number of Indians having dwindled and that of the white people much increased, and a considerable por- tion of the latter not being accommodated b}- the location of the meeting house, a bitter controversy arose about that lo- cation, and it never ceased until after the close of Mr. Badg- er's ministry, when a new church was built in the centre of the town. No services vrere held here after 1798; the meet- ing house gradually fell into decay, and was finally demol- ished in 1812. During the first quarter of the present century the.e was no place of public worship in this part of the town. A por- tion of those who had attended on Mr. Badger's ministry here became worshippers in the new church erected in tiie centre oi the town, A larger number joined the parish of the Rev. Mr. Noyes of West Needham. Some went to the neighboring churches in SherJjorn and Dover. For several years before the erection of this church, the fiftieth anniver- sary of whose dedication we commemorare to-day, — with the increase of the population, a desire sprung up here to iuive again a place of public worship in their midst. Informal meetings of the inhabitants were, no doubt, held from time to time, having a view to organize a religious society, peti- tioning the Legislature for an Act of Incorporation, and building a meeting house. We have the record <^f but two of those meetings, previous to the incorporation of the soci- ety, the first having been held on the 11th of February,1828, which is entitled "A meetmg of the subscribers tor the pur- pose of building a meeting house in the south parish in the town." It was held at Brooks" tavern agreeably to public netice; Captain John Bacon being Moderator and Leonard 25 Perry, Clerk. At that meeting a committee of three was ''chosen, and authorized to let out and contract for the building of a meeting house on oi near the spot where the old meeting house in the soath part of Natick stood or such as shall he designatad by the Society about to be incorpo- rated/' Elijah Perry and Thomas Phillips were the con- tractors who undertook the erection of the house, the latter with Nathan Phillips of West Dedham being the carpenters who superintended the doing of the work. It was voted at this meeting that "the payments be made to the contractors, one third April 10th. one third August 10th, the remainder when the house is completed." At a meeting of the sub- scribers, held Oct. o, following, a committee* was chosen "to superintend the tinishing of the common around the meeting house in such a manner as their judgment shall dictate." At an adjourninent of the same meeting a committee was chosen to procure a bell, f The south parish in Natick, for whose use this church was built, was incorporated b}- an act of the Legislature, March 1st, 1828. riie names of thirty persons are given in the act as constituting the society, --with such others as may here- after associate themselves with them. '"J A meeting to or- gani/ie under the act was held April 8, 1828, at which a com- mittee of five was chosen to locate a site for the meeting house. The parish committee was also authorized to hire preaching, but it does not appear that any meetings were held for public worship until after the dedication of the church. At a subsequeijt meeting, a committee was ap- pointed to apprai^se the pews, who were directed to assess #3500 upon them, which was probably about what the house cost. At an adjournment of the meeting they reported such an appraisal, and their report was accepted. There was never any sale of pews, and no pews ever became the property of individuals. *The eominittee consisted ol" Araory Morse, Lowell Perry, Josiah Bigelow, Thomas Pliillips and Job Brooks. The A'ork was done according to a plan exhibited for that purpose by .Josiah Bigelow. tThis coiuiaittee consisted of Pliares Sawin and Col. Abraham Bigelow. jFor a list and some notices of the corporators se« the appendix at the fnd of the Discourse. 26 The dedication took place Nov. 20th. The services on the occasion were as follows: Introductory prayer by Rev. John B. Wight of Wayland; selections of scriptures by Rev. John White of Dedham; dedicatory prayer by Rev. Ralph Sanger of Dover; sermon by Rev. Charles Lowell, D. D., of Boston; concluding prayer by Rev. Daniel C. Sanders, D. D., of Med- field. Original hymns were prepared for the occasion by William and Josiah Bigelovv. The sermon was from Haggai, II. 9, "In this will I give peace, saith the Lord of Hosts." The doctrine being that union of sentiment among Christ- ians is not essential to peace. Of those v/ho took part in the services of the occasion the venerable Mr. Wight of Way- land, now nearly ninety years of age, who, we hoped, would be able to be with us to-day, has for many vears been the sole survivor.* In looking over the list of corporators and of those who were prominent in the establishment of the society, we find several of the names of Biglovv, Bacon and Perry. The name of Isaac Biglow heads the list. Abraham and Isaac, Jr., were also among the corporators, and Josiah was an ear- ly member. The Biglows were among the prominent fami- lies of the town. William Biglow, a graduate of Harvard College in 1794, was one of this family,' At one time he was the principal of the Boston Latin School. He was a poet and wit of no ordinary powers, and furnished good hymns, as did also his nephew, Josiah, for both the dedication of the church and the ordination of the first minister. In IH'SO, he published an authentic and valuable history of the town. His father. Deacon William Biglow, was the Deacon Badger of Mrs. Stowe's 'Old Town Folks." The mother of Profes- sor Calvin E. Stowe was one of this family. John Bacon, Sr., was one of the largest contributors to the expense of building the church, and he and his sons, John Jr. and Oli- ver, were among the leading members of the society. John Bacon, Jr., early removed to New York. Oliver, recently deceased, always felt a strong interest in the society, and, at his death, made a bequest of -$5,000 to the parish for the sup- *HiB letter replying to bis invitation may l)e found in the appendix. •27 port of worship here. The name of Elijah Perry stands sec- ond among the corporators, and he was among the most ac- tive in the movement for erecting the church and sustaining the .societ}'. As has been stated, he was one of the contrac- tors who undertook the building of the house. His son, Leonard Perry, was one of the first deacons of the church, continuing to hold the office as long as he remained in town. Hon. Amos Perr}^ now of Providence, R. I.,' was, in his youth, connected with the first Sunday School, and played an instrument in the first choir. Some of the family have con- tinued active members of the parish to the present time. J(jhu Atkins, Esq., was not one of the original corporators, but, after the completion of the house, he became one of the active and influential members of the society, and did as much as any one to promote its prosperity. He was, for many years, a ship-master, removing here towards the end of the last century,  from Truro, Cape Cod, of which place both he and his wife [Jane Avery] were natives. Af- ter the death of the Rev, Mr. Badger, he became the agent «)f Mrs. Badger l^^r the management of her business and the care of her property. After his death Mr. Blanchard preached a funeral sermon which was published. Thomas Phillips, also one of the corporators, has already been men- tioned as one of the contractors for building the church and superintendents of the work. He became a member of the church at its formation, and was soon made one of the dea- cons, which office he held till his death in 1873. He was es- pecially attached to the liberal views of truth which we hold, and was a \vorthy example of the pure character and exem- plary deportment which they are fitted to produce. There were others worthy to be remembered, some of whose names I can only mention, as Phares, Calvin, Thomas and Baxter Sawin; Charles, Amory and John Morse, 2d; John Mann; Stephen H. Spalding, M. D.; Moses Eames and Pardon Albee. The number of active members of the so- ciety soon after its organization and at the settlement of their first minister was larger than it has been at any time isince. After the dedication, stated services were held, and a Sup- 28 day School maintained in the church on the Sabbath, the pulpit being supplied, for a while, by ministers of the neigh- boring churches, and afterwards, by young men from Cam- bridge, among whom was Mr. James W. Thompson, a mem- ber of the Divinity School, whose very acceptable services secured him a unanimous call,. Dec. 31, 1829. He accepted the call, and was ordained Feb. 17, 1830. The public ser- vices on the occasion were as follows: — Introductory prayer by Rev. Mr. Sanger of Dover; selec- tions from scriptures by Rev. J. L. Sibley of Stowe; sermon by Rev. Alexander Young of Boston; charge by Rev. James Thompson ofBarre, father of the minister elect; right hand of fellowship by Rev. Luther Hamilton of Taunton; address to the society by Rev. Charles Briggs of Lexington; conclud- ing prayer by Rev. Bernard Whitman of Waltham. Three original hymns were sung, written by William and Josiah Biglow. Mr. Young's text was John, viii, 12, ••! am the light of the world." The subject, "Christianity designed and adapted to be a universal religion." Of those who partici- pated in these services Mr. Sibley, the venerable Librarian Emeritus of Harvard University, is believed to be the only survivor. On the 11th of March, 1830. a church was gathered and embodied, consisting of members dismissed for that purpose, from the churches of Natick and Dover, together with some other persons who offered themselves for membership. Rev. Mr. Sanger of Dover, being present and acting as moderator, read a Declaration and Covenant which received the signa- tures and assent of tht)pe seeking membership, the ordinance of baptism being administered to one of them.* A sermon was preached on the occasion by Mr. Sanger, when it was publicly announced that a church had been regularly formed agreeably to congregational usage. The Lord's Supper was first admini&tersd in this church on the 28th of March, 1 830, to twenty-two communicants. ♦ThomaB Phillips, afterwards elected deacou. 2& This first ministry, commencing und^r such favorable au- spices, and so eminently harmonious and prosperous while it lasted, was destined to be of short continuance. Mr. Thompson, having received a call from the Barton Square Society, Salem, this society reluctantly consented to the dis- solution of his connection with them at the end of the sec- ond year of his ministry. His large success and distin- guished usefulness in other fields of labor intensifies the feel- ing of regret that he could not have continued here. After the close of Mr. Thompson's ministry the pulpit continued vacant about a year and a half. In May, 1883, Mr. Edward Palmer commenced preaching here, and at length. Oct. 12, received a call to become the minister of this parish for three years. • He had been recommended to this society by Kev. Bernard Whitman of Waltham, who preached tht' sermon at his ordination on the 30th of October. Mr. Palmer was young and inexperienced, and his services did not long continue satisfactory to the people, and, on the 2nd of September, 1834, after a ministry of ten months, his relation to the parish was dissolved at his own request. After an interval of a few months, the parish united in a call to the Rev. Ira Henry Thomas Blanchard to become their minister. Mr. Blanchard. a native of Weymouth, Mass., graduated at Harvard College in the class of 1817, and hav- ing held the office of tutor in th'.; college, at the same time pursuing, in his leisure hours, his theological studies, was at length settled over the first Congregational church in Har- vard in the beginning of 1823. There he remained eight years, till a severe and long-continued illness compelled him to relinquish his pastoral charge. After a few years he so tar recovered his health as to accept the call of this parish for a term of five years, and was installed Feb. 25, 1835.* His ministry here was a harmonious and useful one, continu- ing to the end of the five years for which he had been en- gaged. It was during his ministry that the Ladies' Social Circle, who had always done their full share in keeping up the religious life and interest of the church and in contrib- uting to its material needs, under the influence of Mrs. *Tlie order of exercises at bis installation may be found in the appendix. 30 Blanchard, a woman of high character and rare worth, who was always active in all good enterprises, established a li- brary for the use of its members, which has been increasing ever since in size and usefulness. For man}' years it was under the careful charge of Mrs. Oliver Bacon as its efficient librarian, and, after her death, her husband erected a neat and commodious building to receive it, which stands in the shaded enclosure containing the Eliot monument, and pre- sented to the Ladies' Social Circle, out of regard to the great interest which hi^ wife had taken in it, and as a tribute to her memory. And, at his, own death, Mr. Bacon made a very liberal bequest of a very considerable sum to erect a spacious fire-proof building and to constitute a fund, placing it in the hands of trustees, to establish and sustain a free library for the benefit of all the inhabitants of the town, to which he was undoubtedly moved l)y the interest wliich he and his wife took in this village library. At the end of the five yeai's for wliich Mr. Bhinchaid had been engaged, the parish, highly appreciating the value ot his services, proposed to him to ]-enew his engagement, but the precarious state of his health and his wish to devote himself to the care and comfort of his aged an<l widowed mother, led him to decline. He, however, offered to supply the pulpit three months longer, which offer was gratefulls- accepted. He removed to Weymouth, his native plae.'. where he survived, about five years. These last years were years of much weakness and suffering. He was able, how- ever, occasionally to supply vacant pulpits, and declined one call to another settlement. He at length became the victim of consumption, his death taking place April U, 1845. If he had enjoyed good health, his more than oidinaiy ability and his great excellence would have insured him a distinguished rank in his profession. During the next two yeare the parish were without a set- tled minister, the pulpit being occupied by transient sup- plies. In 1841, a subscription was raised to paint the church and repair the fence around it, and it is presumed that these repairs were made at that time. Early in the spring of 1843. the parish invited the Rev. 81 Thomas Brattle Gannett to take the pastoral charge of the society for five years. He accepted the invitation and en- tered upon his duties without an installation. Mr. Gannett had previously been, for nearly twenty years, the pastor of a church in Cambridgeport, where he "approved himself a faithful and devoted minister, conciliating the affection and commanding the respect t)f the flock by his exemplary life and devotion to their service."* At this time more than usual interest was manifested here by the addition of about twenty new members to the parish. A code of by-laws was also adopted, relating chiefly to the conditions of member- ship; and the regulation of the finances of the society. It was during the ministry of Mr. Gannett, in Oct., 1847, that some public-spirited individuals, headed by Rev. Mr. (Jaunett, Hon. Henry Wilson and Mr. Oliver Bacon, caused the monument to be erected to the memory of Eliot now standing within tlie enclosure eml)racing a part of the Indian burying g)ound. The pleasant grove in the enclosure around the. inonuuient was set out al)Out this time. A large and venerable red oak, which some maintain to have been the Eliot Oak, rather than the large white oak now standing, — turmeily stood near where the town pump now stands, which having become somewhat decayed, was cut down about that time by a citizen living in the vicinity. Its fall caused much regret and indignation on the part of many leading inhabi- tants wild believed that it might have l)een preserved for maiiy years. Until tlie eai-ly jiart of 1848 this had been the only place of worship in this part of the town. In February of that year, the Baptists organized a church here, worshipping in the Hall of the Public House, but, three years later, in Feb- ruary, 1857, they removed to the centre of the town, where they erected a church in which they have ever since wor- sliipped. At the end of the five years for which he was originally engaged, Mr- Gannett was reengaged for a further term of service, and continued his pastorate till April 1, 1850. After *C'hrt!<tUw E.raminrr. for July. 1851, page loO. 82 the close of his ministry, he continued to reside at South Na- tick, in failing health, where he survived about a year, and died on the 19th of April, 1851. Though not possessing brilliant talents, or the highest intellectual endowments, he was yet "known and trusted for his moral excellence, his kind affections, his sound practical judgment in regard to the duties and exigencies of life, and his efficient usefulness." In a tribute to his memory, written soon after his death, it is truthfully said, "It belonged to Mr. Gannett's nature to shrink from publicity, but his tenderness of conscience never permitted him to neglect a duty while his sound discretion guided him to the right performance of it. Many within the walks of the profession which he loved have been more emi- nent, but few more esteemed. And when the distinction which the world and the church confer upon genius and elo- quence and learning shall be lost in the more enduring dis- tinctions of virtue, we beli'^^vc that our friend will be found with them 'of whom (xod is not ashamed to be called their Father, having provided for them a kingdom.' "'■■' On the 1st of October, IH.,0, Rev. James liuirstun, who had recently been the minister of the Unitarian society in Billerica, was engaged to become the minis<^er and pastor of. this church and societ}' for six months, at the end of which, the engagement was renewed for one year. His connectit)n with the church and society terminated in ApiiK 18oil. He graduated at Harvard in 1829, and from the Theological School, in 1835. He was a man of mucli culture and schol- arly attainments, and his ministry here was a harmoijious and prosperous one. As a member of the school committee of the town, he was active, in connection with Judge Bacon, in the original establishment of the High School in the town. The last years of his life were spent in West Newton, where he died of consumption, in 1872. Rev. Nathaniel O. Chaffee succeeded Mr. Thurston in the charge of this pulpit, and remained one year till April, 1853. when Rev. Edward Stowe, a native of Framingham, a gradu- ate of Brown University, in 1835, and of the Cambridj:;e *Chr't!stian Examiner, for July, ls.")l. page 160, S3 Divinity School in 1839, took his place. On entering the ministry, he preached awhile at the West. Returning, he was settled a few years at Barnstable, Mass. Subsequently, for ten or twelve years, he ministered successfully to the so- cieties in Calais. Bucksport and Hallowell, Maine. He re- mained here as minister two years, closing his ministry the last of May, 1855. Mr^ Stov\^e was a good and acceptable preacher, a diligent student, a faithful and highly esteemed pastor, earnest and conscientious in his work, and a person of great purity of character. He was much interested in Natu- i-al History and scientific studies, and, a few years since, was elected an Honoiary Member of our Historical and Natural History Society. After leaving here he went to Framing- ham to take the care of his aged parents, where he died, some- wliat suddenly, in 1877. After about two years" interruption of the continuity of the pastoral relation, in May, 1857. Rev. William G, Babcock came heie from Harvard, Mass., and assumed the pastoral of- fice for one year. Having first labored as minister at large in the city of Providence, and afterwards fiUed'the ministerial office in Lunenburg and Harvard, he brought to his work here considerable experience, and so far met the wishes and expectations of the people as to be reengaged for two years more. He closed his laliors here in Fel)ruary, 1860. It was in the last year of his ministry that an orthodox Congrega- tional society was organized, and its first minister ordained.* After a short ministry in Scituate, Mass., Mr. Babcock be- came the minister of tlu^ Warren Street Chapel, Boston. where he still remains. We are very happy to have his aid in the services to-day. In May, 1860, I commenced the supply of the pulpit, and continued in the ministerial office here till April, 1874, a period of almost fourteen years. I have not proposed to my- self to give any account, on this occasion, of my labors dur- ing those years. But I feel constrained to improve this op- portunity to bear witness to the uniform courtesy and kind *The services of ordination were held in this church, ou Wednesday, No- vember 1(3, 18.59. wlien Rov, Calvin E. Stowe. a native of this place, xreafhpil tlie sermon. 34 appreciation, on the part of this people, of my poor labors in their service, to their liberality in doing what they could for my support, and to their sincere and heart-felt sympathy in my sorrows, as I have often sought to bring them comfoi-t and hope in theirs. I would fain hope it ma}^ prove, as they have seemed to believe, that some good and worthy results have come from my labors among tliem. Though my minis- try has been about twice as long as the longest of my prede- cessors, it was a satisfaction to feel and know that they were willing and desirous that I should serve them yet longer; and after I ceased to be their minister, the}^ luive never been wanting in heart-felt respect and kindness to me in my de- clining days. Not knowing where else I could find so pleas- ant a home in my loneliness, I propose to cast my lot here; and, varying slightly the words of the apostle, 1 would say to this people, "Only let your conversation l)e as becometh the gospel of Christ, that whether I remain with you. or be- ing absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind, striving togethei' for the faith of the gospel."" In less than six months after my resignation, Septeral)er 30, 1874, my successor, Rev. Joseph P, Sheafe, Jr., was or dained to the ministry here, and he has already entered on the fifth year of his service.* He has brought to this, his first charge, an excellent spirit and a degree of energy, en- thusiasm and zeal, that, with a hearty cooperation on the part of the people, which, I trust, will not be wanting, prom- ise the best results in the future. Thus, I will not permit myself to doubt, he will strengthen the things that remain, and will be able to build up. — if not a large society in the near future, — one strong in its unity of spirit, an active par- ish and a living church. To return, for a moment, in conclusion, to the meeting- house, the point from which we set out. Many inprovements have been made, within the half century of its existence, to which I may refer. About a quarter of a century ago, an organ was placed in the church to supersede the use of the *For the order of services at his ordination sf^e the apijeiidix. 35 bass-viols, violins, clarionets and flates, which had been used as an accompaniment to the music before. Since 1860, when I became the minister, the wall, and the stone posts and steps have been put around and in front of the church, the roof has been slated, new windows of stained glass have been put in, the projection for the pulpit has been built out, the interior has been frescoed, and the aisles carpeted, the house has been painted within and without, and a new tower has been erected and a clock has been placed upon it. This hist — the clock — was purchased at the expense of the vil- lage, and is not exclusively parish property. In all these changes and improvements, we have had the indispensable aid of one of our summer residents and fellow- worshipers,* whose works of quiet, unostentatious benefi- cenc3 have come from the love of doing good for its own sake, and of whose innumerable and little-known acts of char- ity and mercy — it will never be realized how many and great they have been, until he is no longer spared to do them. I think we may safely claim that our church, at present, is a more commodious and tasteful and pleasant place of worship than that in which the fathers met fifty years ago to-day. If those who come after us, fifty years hence, shall wish and seek for a better church, may they, by building into it so much of the Christian spirit of self-consecration, and love, and purity, make good the claim that the glory of the latter house shall be greater than that of the former. *H. H. Flunmnvell. Esq. Appendix. As slated in the foregiting discourse, tlie Act of Incorporation oft lit' Soutli Congregational, now tlie First Unitaiian parish of Natick, \v:is dated March 1, 1828. Tlie following ai'e the thirty names given iu the Act as constituting the Society: Isaac Biglow, Elijah Perry, Pharez Sawin, Abraham Biglow, John Bacon, Jr., Leonard Perry. Charles Morse, Benjamin Bird. William Perry, Lindall Perry, Amory Morse, John P. Barnes. Oliver Bacon, Mrs. Hannah Dra])er Isaiah Bacon, William Drake, Dexter Whitney. Samuel Jones, Lowell Peny, Pardon Albee, John Atkins, Jr., Thomas Phillips. John Breck. Stephen H. Spalding Baxter Sawin. John Mann, John Morse, 2d, Calvin Sawin, Isaac Biglow. Jr., Job Brooks. who died April 18. 18.j4, aged 77 years " •' November lil, 184."), '• 74 *' December 7. 18;JG, '' (Ki " Octobef 1<), 1873, •• Sr> •' in New York, August 1"). is."):). '• ','.) " in Baltimore, June 4, ]8.jU, " <io " in Dover, April 28. lS4o, "■ (>i» " August 27, 183(), •• »;:; •' '• August l.>, ]8(i(). •• 83 still living iu Woburn. who died March 19, 18.")(i, ■ •• (Hj It is not known what became of liim. who died Apiil 13, 187S. •• 81 . •' " in Niedham. September 24, 1851. '• <t!) Tho removed to Vermont in 1829. and died soon after who kept the Hotel in 1828, but early left th.- tt.w n. who removed to Charlton, wliere he died, who died January 20, 1839, ;i-ed f)4 yeais " " November 17, I8(i(). " (it) " " in Waltham, August 23. 1832, " 33 '• " " January fi, 1872. •' s.") •' July 1, 1873, •• 7(3 His hisloiy is unknown. , M. D., who died July 15, InCm. •• 7(5 who died September 15, 1854. *• 55 '• January 14, 18.58, •• G9 '' " December 31, lS(i4. •• 05 ■' " in Dover, Deceml)er 2(), 1S47. " 59 •• April 22, 1859, •• 58 •• who removed to Boston, where be died a few vears 6i Only one, Lindall Perry, was living du the fiflietli anniversary of the dedication of the meeting house. The names of sixty-six additional members were added by or before April, 1831, making, with the thirty corporators, ninety-six members of the Society. The following was the Order of Services at the Installation of the Kev. I. H. T. Blanchard as pagtoi of the South Congregational Society in Na- tick. February 25, 18;>r>: — I. Anthem. II. Introductory Prayer and Reading of the Scriptures, by Rev. ,J. W. Thompson. III. Original Hymn, written by Josiah Big- low. IV. Sermon by Kev. Con vers Francis of \Valei town. V. Prayer of Installation by Rev. Alvau Lam.son of Dedham. VI. Charge by Rev. Francis Parkman. I).- I)., of Boston. VII. Kight Hand of Fellowship by Rev. E. S. Cannett of Boston. VIII. Address to the Society by Rev. John Pierpont of Boston. IX. Couciuding Pi'ayer by Rev. Chandler Robbins of Boston. X. Original PTTYe4H written by Mrs. .Sarah \. Dowe. XI. Benediction by the pastor. The order of services at the oniinaiion of Rev. Joseph P. Slieafe, Jr , Septembei 80, 1874. was as f(dlows: — I. Invocation, by Rev. Horat'io Alger oi Souih Natick. II. Selection by the choir. III. Reading from the Scriptures, by Rev. Alfred E. .Mullett of Sherborn. IV. Hymn. V. Sennon by Rev. Rufns Ellis, D. D., of Boston. VI. Ordainins^ Prayer, by Rev. C. C. Fverett, D. D.. of ('ambridge. VII. Hymn. VIII. Change, by Professor Edward J. Young of Cambridge. IX. Riglit Hatul of Fellowship, by Rev. U. M. Wilson of Melrose. X. Anthem. XI. Address to the People, by Rev. W. H. Cudworth of East Boston. XII. Concluding Prayer, by Rev. S. D. Hosmer of South Xatick. XIII. Doxology, "From all who dwell below the skies,"" etc. XIV. Benediclinn by the Pastor. (omiiiemoration ot the Semi-C'enteniiial Anniversary of the Dedication of the linitarian Church, November 20, I84H. At the aTinual parish meeting of the First Unitarian Society, held March 27,1878, after discussion, it was unanimously voted to commemorate the semi-centennial anuiveisary of the dedication of the church by suitable public services, and .1 committee was chosen to make the necessary arrange- ments for the commemoration. Rev. Horatio Alger, Rev. Joseph P. Sheafe, Jr., Oliver Bacon, Elijah Perry, Elliot Perry and the Standing Committee of the parish, Aaron Wheeler, E. M. Phippsaiid Heniy Hancock, were chosen as said (Jommittee of Arrangements. In accordance with the vote of the society, and in pursuance of the arrangements made by the committee, the services of commemoration took place in the church on Wednesday, No- >'ember 2Uth. The weather proved stormy, thus deferring many who would otherwise have attended from being present.* Nevertheless, a goodly number appeared at the church and participated in the interesting exercises. Among them were a few — some seven or eight — who were at ».V friend who was present at the dedication tif'ty years ago informs >is that tlie weatlier was also s>toriiiy ou'that otoasion. 38 the dedication fifty years ago. All the surviving ex-ministers were present. At 10-45 o'clock, A. M., the exercises of the day were opened by an an- them from the choir. Rev. William G. Babcock of the Warren Street Chapel, Boston, formerly a pastor of this church, then read appropriate selections from the scriptures. An impressive prayer was next offered by Professor Edward J. Young of Harvard University. The choir then sung the following hymn, written by Josiah Biglow, and sung at the ordinatior. of the first pastor: — Here first, O Lord, the red men woke ^ Their wild, untutored song to Thee; Their altar was the foiest oak, Their temple, heaven's high canopy. And where the hearth, with cheerful blaze, Welcomes a more enlightened throng, The desert heard their simple praise. And echoed back their grateful song. O. where is now the gathered band. That met in olden time to pray'.* And where that holy man. whose hand First led them on their pilgrim way? Peaceful they slumbei, side by side, Where they Thy holy name avowed ; The warrior's plume, the chieftain's pride. Before a stranger race are bowed. Rich in the fulness of his days, That veteran of the cross is gone; His spirit heard the toil-earned praise, •'Thou servant of the Lord, well done!" Rev. J. P. Sheafe. Jr.. next proceeded to deliver the first of the fore- going historical addresses. This was followed by the singing of the follow- ing original liymi.. wiitten for the occasion by Horatio Alger^ Jr. :— Eternal God, whose mighty power Controls the slowly circling spheres, And yet whose all-oervading love E'en in the humblest life'appears. v' Thy people, shielded by the-care, ^- ''J Have walked in peace these fifty yeais In other lands. Thy worshipers Have reared, with toil, vast, stately piles. And unto Thee their reverent eyes Uplift in dim cathedral aisles; We, in this humbler temple met. Have shared the sunshine of Thy smiles. 39 Beneath this roof the song of praise Hath blended with the voice of prayer. As, week by week, thy children met To thank Thee for the guardian care That guides our steps and keeps us safe, Not only here, but everywhere. Our Father, m tlie years to come, Be with us as in days gone by! O. hll us with a sacred joy When the last summons comes — to die, And from this lowly temple lift Our spirits to Thy home on high! The foregoing i*eiiii-cenleiniial address was then delivered by Rev. Hoiatio Alger. At the close of the services in the church, the audience adjourned to the Scliool House Hall, where a collation had been provided by the Society. Having returned to the church, at 2 o'clock. Rev. S. W. Bush, pastor of the church at Needham, at the request of the Committee of Arrange- ments, acted as Chairman. Kev. Mr. Alger read the following letter from the Rev. John B. Wight of Wayland, now in his eighty-ninth year, and the sole survivor who took part in the dedicatory services of fifty years ago: Wayland, Nov. 20th, 1878. Rev. Horatio Alger. South Xatick. Bear Sir: The infirmities of age preclude me from hoping to be bodi- ly piesent with you at the approaching commemoration of tlie first fifty years since 'he dedication of your house of worship. I hope, however, I may be able to be in some measuje present with you in spirit and thus participate in the pleasant recollections, the holy feelings and the heavenly hopes, connected with the interesting occasion. With liigh regal d, JOHN B. WIGHT, ill the 80fh year of my age. There were other letters expressing regret at tlieir inabilitv to attend from friends, who, it was hoped, would be present. After some appropriate eulogistic remarks by the Chairman on the char- acter of ihe New England clergy, he introduced Rev. Dr. Thompson of Jamaica Plain, the first pastor of this church, who touched a tender chord in loving reminiscences of his South Natick congregation, and gave a brief characterization of some of the neighboring pastors. He gave some per- sonal recollections of Rev. Dr. Sanger of Dover, and of Messrs. William and Josiah Biglow. and made a tender reference to Mrs. Oliver Bacon. Wlien his pastorate ceased, many years ago, he gave the people his youthful benediction: he now wished them to receive an old man's blessing. 40 ReT. William Gr. Babcock, also a foimer pastor, desciibed the audience- room as he knew it. Though the times were troublous, from various causes, yet a loving spirit was shown. He referred to the mental activity of Moses Eames, Esq.. and the honest goodness of Deacon Phillips. Rev. S. D. Hosmer of South Natick, being called on, responded, playfully preferring, for personal safety, a church semi-centennial to a Medfield bi- centennial. Alluding to the establishing of another church here, he spoke of the desire to honor Eliot by its name; and as the old church was called the Eliot, the new one had to be called the John Eliot church. Mr. Elijah Perry stated some interesting family facts. John Perry, his ancestor, six generations ago, came over in the same ship that had brought Eliot; and Lewis Jones, ancestor on the maternal side, came in 1640. His maternal grandfather was one of the deacons of Parson Badger. Hon. Amos Perry of Providence, R. I., si.id that fifty years ago to-day he played a flute in the choir. He also referred to his early connection with the Sunday School. Rev. J. Edwards of Grantville, expressed his interest in the valuable papers read in the morning; and Mr. William B. Trask of Dorchester, a member of *he Historic Genealogical Societj, narrated some incidents of Eliot's life, reading an account o the good man's narrow escape from drowning. Rev. Mr. Pinch, of South Xatick. and Rev. A. B. Vors«? of Grantville. also made short addresses. The music was excellently rendered, and the services through the day. in spite of the weeping skies, were highly appreciated and enjoyed. The following hymns were siuig by the clmir in the afternoon: — Semi-Centeniiial Hymn, Written by Rev. S. D. Robbins, O! Thou, who changest not though centuries roll. Of all we are or have, the Sun and Soul I Thy truths sublime the generations keep Within Thy temi)]es. though the fathers sleep. We bless Thee for the light that streams each day. Fresh from Thy mind, to guide us on our way: We thank Thee for the love that flows so free Forth from Thy heart to lead us up to Thee. Thine are the spirits of the pure and just, Who walked among us, true to every trust : The fragrance ot' their memories shall rise As incense with uur daily sacrifice. 41 Our Father! on that happy, heavenly shore, Where separation shall be known no more, Safely enfolded on Thy faithful breast, Thy children all shall share Thy holy rest. Dedication Hymn, Written by Josiali Biglow. Thou Mighty One! whose boundless svay Pervades all worlds and fills all space, To Thee we bow, to Thee we pray. To Thee we consecrate this place. Here lirst the forest sons were taught To know Thy name and own Thy word; Here first Thy beams of truth they caught, And nature's children owned Thee Lord. Our fathers, on this hallowed ground, From olden time have knelt and prayed. And we, their children, would be found To tread the footsteps they have made. Again, O! Lord, Thine altars blaze. Again Thy temple def^Us the land. Where stranger-nati(.ns mingled praise. Led by the Savior's guiding hand. Cod of all people! we would bring The offering of our praise to Thee: And, while our lips Thy glories sing, May eveiy heart Thy dwelling be. This humble effort of our powers. This lowly temple, we have given; O! may it prove to us and ours, Tlie house of God, the gate of heaven! Benediction.